How We Can Use Less Water to Grow More Crops

As drought rages on in the West, scientists search for improvements to wasteful irrigation technologies.
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This story was adapted from a longer version at Ensia.   When a farmer wonders how much water a crop needs, a simple hands-on test has always sufficed: Grab a handful of soil and feel how it clumps together. Now something else is helping inform the farmer’s touch: Data. Sensors, satellites, and software are adding… Read More

Generation Yum: Why Millennials Are the Most Food-Obsessed Generation in History

Q&A with author Eve Turow on Millennials, Instagram, and how to engage the younger generation.
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Millennials are thinking more about food than any generation in history. At least that’s the thesis behind Eve Turow’s new book, A Taste of Generation Yum: How the Millennial Generation’s Love for Organic Fare, Celebrity Chefs, and Microbrews Will Make or Break the Future of Food. The 28-year-old writer spent three-and-a-half years interviewing peers, sifting… Read More

All the News That’s Fit to Eat: Red Meat and Cancer, Americans Eating Less, and Sea Slaves

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The World Health Organization Is Expected to Say Red Meat Is Linked to Cancer (Quartz) In April 2014, the World Health Organization’s International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) cited studies linking red and processed meats to colorectal, esophageal, lung, and pancreatic cancer. Since then, the agency has been collecting additional data and it is expected to… Read More

Is There Herbicide in Breast Milk?

A new study highlights a huge data gap: The U.S. has no ongoing monitoring of glyphosate in food or people.
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Last spring, an NGO called Moms Across America paid to have ten women’s breast milk tested for glyphosate, the United States’ most widely used weed-killer. According to Moms Across America founder and director Zen Honeycutt, the testing was not intended to be a scientific study, but rather a small, pilot effort undertaken in hopes of prompting further research. Read More

Northern California’s First Agrihood Will Bring Organic Veggies to Former Industrial Land

The Cannery in Davis, California, will place an educational incubator farm in the middle of a planned community.
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On land that once housed a tomato cannery, a new type of farm is slowly taking root.

The farm is a flagship feature of The Cannery, a residential development in Davis, California, slated for public unveiling next month. And it’s on of a growing number of agrihoods, planned communities that eschew golf courses and build homes around farms instead. Read More

Clean Weed: Inside an ‘Organic’ Marijuana Farm

Conventional marijuana is grown with pesticides. The Clean Green label hopes to help consumers and farmers find a chemical-free alternative.
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SoFresh Farms, in Canby, Oregon, is not what I expect. When I finally find it, on an out-of-the-way gravel road, I’m struck by how ordinary this rural neighborhood is. There’s a produce farm on one side; a man raising Longhorn cattle on the other. Magnificent Mount Hood dominates the skyline. Other than the 8-foot-high wooden fence surrounding the property, there’s nothing to tip me off that this is a cannabis farm.  Read More

5 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Living in a Food Desert

Photo by Ingrid Cruz.

I moved to California from El Salvador with my mother when I was two years old. Throughout most of my childhood, we lived in Huntington Park, a mostly-Latino, blue-collar suburb South of Los Angeles.

Needless to say, I was far from the gluten-free bread, kale chips, and other fad foods of Hollywood. There were few grocery stores nearby and, although we were only four blocks away from a Mexican market with great produce, I rarely saw a farmers’ market. Instead, there were lots of convenience stores filled with pre-packaged, processed foods, fast food restaurants, and small liquor stores with overpriced, overripe produce. Read More

All the News That’s Fit to Eat: House Passes ‘DARK Act’, a Fast Food Worker Victory, & Farmers Tap Recycled Water

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Busy week? We’ve rounded up the food news you might have missed:

U.S. House Passes Anti-GMO Labeling Law (Reuters)

After a heated debate on the House floor Thursday morning, the measure was approved 275-150. The bill, which would block the existing GMO labeling labeling law in Vermont and prevent others like it, has not yet been introduced in the Senate. Opponents of the bill said they see it stalling there, but supporters said they are finding growing support. Read More

Are ‘Superfoods’ Over?

A closer look at a wildly popular, totally unregulated food label.
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Over the past decade, blueberries have become big business in the U.S. In 1998, the Oregon blueberry harvest was 17 million pounds. By 2013, blueberry production had catapulted to 90 million pounds, on track to reach 150 million over the next five years. Blueberries are certainly  delicious and nutritious, but how much of the Pacific Northwest’s $94-billion-a-year industry can be attributed to the humble fruit’s makeover—by dieticians, cookbook authors, and celebrity doctors—into a superfood? Read More